April 2017 has been a busy month – nothing new there then!
A knitting and spinning Retreat at Higham Hall in Cumbria, English Lakes. This was a new venture. Although I regularly deliver courses for Higham, this was the first Retreat I have done there and I am sure it will not be the last.
An absolutely brilliant time and Higham let us use their sitting room with it’s wood burning stove. We were knitting, crocheting and spinning. Not all at once you understand but people chose what they wanted to focus on. We did a wee project as usual. this time it was mug hugs or cosies.
And courses for Wigtown and Eden Valley guilds of weavers, spinners & Dyers this month too. An ‘Improve Your Spinning’ course at Wigtown and Silk Spinning at Eden Valley. We stayed in the Lakes for a few days and had the very great pleasure of visiting the Camping Barn near Keswick and having a good old knit, natter and cake eating afternoon with Sarah and her friends!
There will be another Retreat at The Old School in October 2017 by the way… They of course are our regular Retreat venue. Only four rooms, but they can accommodate a couple of camper vans and day places are available too.
Stash busting, de-cluttering and dieting seem to be seasonal phenomena.
Here’s how it goes. Binge eat/buy in December then shed the excess £s/lbs January to March.
In other words, our hard earned cash eventually ends up in the bin or charity shop. Duh. And it is hard to value things you feel guilty about. So the ‘punishment’ is to say ‘I am not buying any more fibre or yarn until I have used this lot up.’
Ditch the guilt though, there is a reason why you have not used it. You don’t like it, don’t know how to use it or are scared you will ‘spoil’ it.
The money is gone and guilt will not bring it back. So just spluge and have fun with it. A freeing experience that will liberate your fibre and yarn work and unstick you. Try these strategies:
Give it to someone who can use it. Then it is no longer wasted.
Use it with gay abandon, randomness and don’t worry what matches. Intersperse with one or more grey tones to bring it all together but don’t bother what clashes it will add interest.
If the colours really don’t go, put it all in a dyepot together. Add some blue, grey or black dye and it will all coodinate beautifully.
Weaving is great for using up yarns fast. Use a grey, brown or black warp to bring the colours together. A fine warp combined with wefts of different colours and textures works well.
One of the things I love to do most is have people to visit. We live in a plain wee street in a lovely bungalow in a simple Ayrshire village. Our back garden is a real surprise, as we grow a lot of veg in a relatively small space and are actually WWOOF hosts too. (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms).
Simple living has always been a part of what we do and we decided years ago that living in a village was more sustainable and a better life than being in the hills (as we were previously). So we have a modern, well insulated bungalow, solar panels, a wood burning stove, grow veg and live in a place with three buses an hour, people around during the day and hills in every direction. Yes, we still have the hills. You can set off and walk in any direction from here.
So it makes perfect sense to have ‘cosy courses’ in our living room. People love them and the numbers are smaller – often 3 or 4 people but certainly no more than 5, depending on what it is. Hubby makes soup for us and we eat around the kitchen table.
The most recent course was a ‘flexible’ two day spinning course. Beginners on day one and improvers on day two. You could book for one or both days, and all levels except complete beginners can come to day two.
Local accommodation is available and we also have a spare room where you are welcome to stay. You can have a wee peek at our house here we are air bnb hosts.
Oh and we also do one to one tuition, anything from half a day to two days and stay the night! Your very own micro retreat chez nous, in other words.
These retreats have just sort of grown organically. Our wonderful Ayrshire venue, The Old School became known to us via Victoria, the neice of the owners. She came to Create With Fibre for a one to one spindling lesson, having failed to get a place on any of the spindling courses Janet was teaching at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. She is a jazz singer and what with her and Fiona, who sings wonderful Gaelic songs, some wine and the woodburning stove, the evenings are the best of fun.
And then it just sort of grew and now there are four retreats a year, two in the spring and two in the Autumn. They have become knitting, crochet and spinning retreats because people learn whatever they like and have an individual programme worked out for them. And people just keep coming back. You can see why!
The dining room at The Old School has been lovingly restored, just like the rest of the building. You have a whole classroom as your bedroom!
Knitting, crochet and spinning at a Create With Fibre Retreat.
Results of a productive weekend Retrat. Rachel and Kerrie travelled all the way from Bedfordshire for this Retreat. Some Retreaters live just down the road though.
I love this shawl pattern. It is for sale on ravelry and well worth the money. The pattern is easy to follow and had no mistakes in it. For a simple pattern, the shawl looks just great. I am now knitting a second one for my daughter, having completed the first in a month.
I finished with the plain knitting section rather than the lattice work part. The lattice is simply a row of yarn over, knit 2 together followed by a row of plain knitting. Obvious once you know. I also added an I cord edging around the whole circumference of the shawl which made a real difference as you can see above.
The yarns are all handspun. Merino and silk roving from Scottish Fibres, one in greens and one grey. Then an alpaca and silk roving from Adelaide Walker.